At the ICCET Conference in October, the Board presented the Exemplary Program Award to Pat Kallaus (Coordinator of Shah Center Operations) from McHenry County College. From one concept in 2018, Pat worked with Catherine Jones (Associate Vice President of Workforce Development) and a number of local organizations to develop a total of three programs. Starting with Step Forward (Stateline Transforming Employment Potential), five session (two hours/week) workshop was developed focusing on work readiness for job seekers with a non-violent, criminal background. The program allowed participants who are newly released from jail, gain basic skills to help address the felony with employers and gain confidence to interview, obtain and sustain employment.
Upon completion, participants are given a certificate of attendance and strongly encouraged to complete a WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) application at the workforce network to access more programs and resources. Working in partnership with the courts, four workshops have now been held with increased participation at each workshop. Following the success of the workshops, it was evident that the participants who were applying for manufacturing apprenticeships were not equipped with basic skills.
Because of that, the Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program was developed for WIOA clients including this re-entry population. This six-week, 180-hour program provides training in both soft skills and industry basics. The first program in April/May 2019 started with nine participants with four completions. Another date is scheduled for this fall.